Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) released the following statement on the final bipartisan conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. Brownley served as a conferee for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. The final agreement also included a number of provisions authored by Congresswoman Brownley.
“As the proud representative of Naval Base Ventura County, I was honored to be selected by my colleagues to represent them on the House-Senate conference committee to finalize the FY2020 defense bill. I am also pleased that the final report included several provisions I authored, including a provision to ensure DOD provides adequate support to Major Range and Test Facility Bases, like Naval Base Ventura County, and a provision to address gender disparities in of out-of-pocket uniform costs, as part of my work to bring gender equality to DOD and VA. DOD has also agreed to complete a report I requested on its plans to continue to support the critical California Air National Guard’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, which is critical to fighting wildfires in California.”
“The NDAA included major victories for America’s working families and our military personnel, including a 3.1% pay increase for military personnel, ending the unfair and unjust ‘widow’s tax’, and securing 12 full weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers.
“In Congress, I will continue to fight to support our Navy base and ensure our Armed Forces have the resources they need.”
When the House considered its version of the legislation, the House adopted three amendments Brownley offered.
Brownley’s first amendment directed DOD to update to a 2016 report on the backlog of necessary maintenance and construction at Major Range and Test Facility Bases (MRTFB), including at Naval Base Ventura County. The amendment also requires DOD to assess MRTFBs’ readiness to support advanced testing for future national defense needs. Ensuring NBVC is maintained in a state-of-good-repair and is fully capable of supporting current and future defense needs is a top priority for Brownley in Congress. This language was retained in the final agreement.
Brownley’s second amendment directed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to analyze gender disparities in out-of-pocket uniform costs for men and women servicemembers. As Chair of the Women Veterans Task Force, Brownley has heard directly from female servicemembers and veterans about the high cost of women’s uniforms and the disparities in out-of-pocket costs for female servicemembers. Brownley’s amendment requires GAO to compare out-of-pocket uniform costs for men and women servicemembers in each of the Services of the Armed Forces, as well as past required uniform changes that have affected one gender more than the other. This language was retained in the final agreement.
Brownley’s third amendment required DOD to report back on its plans to continue to support the California Air National Guard’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS), which plays a critical role in state firefighting response efforts. Recently, the Air Force agreed to complete the required report regarding its plans to fund long-term sustainment and operation and maintenance of MAFFS capabilities and establishing MAFFS as a program-of-record. The MAFFS units stationed at Naval Base Ventura County are critical to state-wide firefighting capabilities. As the threats of climate change continue to make fires worse, Brownley believes these California Air National Guard assets will continue to play a vital role and must be fully supported by DOD.